NEWS RELEASE: New post-disaster emergency communication centre enhances public safety for central and southern Vancouver Island residents

Saanich, B.C.—An estimated 100,000 9-1-1 calls will be answered each year by the new South Island 9-1-1/Police Dispatch Centre, officially opened today by B.C. Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth, the Capital Regional District (CRD), local police agencies and E-Comm, Emergency Communications for British Columbia.

The new two-storey, 1,200-square-metre, post-disaster facility, built and owned by the CRD and operated by E-Comm, amalgamates 9-1-1 call-answer, police call-taking and dispatch services for the Central Saanich, Oak Bay, Saanich and Victoria police departments and 11 RCMP detachments in the central and southern Vancouver Island region.

Construction of the $13.1-million facility began in October 2017, and was completed in late fall 2018 on time and under budget. The CRD provided funding for the initiative, with oversight provided by the South Island 9-1-1/Police Dispatch Steering Committee, composed of police chiefs from Central Saanich, Oak Bay, Saanich, and Victoria, and representatives of the RCMP, the Province of British Columbia, CRD and E-Comm.

The centre has been operational since late January, following the successful transition of all police agency call-taking and dispatch operations over a two-week period. To the end of February, the centre received more than 9,600 9-1-1 calls.

E-Comm has operated British Columbia’s largest consolidated emergency communications centre, based in the Lower Mainland, since 1999, managing approximately 20 million 9-1-1 calls. The 70-member team at the South Island Centre joins 540 other E-Comm emergency communication professionals dedicated to helping save lives and protect property through both its 9-1-1 operations and public safety technology.

About the CRD

The CRD is the regional government for 13 municipalities and three electoral areas on southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, serving more than 392,000 residents. With more than 200 service, infrastructure and financing agreements with municipalities and electoral areas, the CRD plays a key role in providing services that can be delivered efficiently and effectively through region-wide or shared service delivery models. These include the regional water supply, solid waste, wastewater treatment, regional parks, housing, 9-1-1 call-answer, and recreation facilities. For more information, visit


Additional information about the South Island 9-1-1/Police Dispatch Centre is available in this media backgrounder.


Government of British Columbia
Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General

“We want British Columbians to have services they can count on and a swift response when they need help. This major public safety initiative will enhance 9-1-1 call-answer and police dispatch services across central and southern Vancouver Island. Consolidating dispatch services and joining forces to operate out of a shared, state-of-the-art facility will improve coordination between agencies so they can better respond to large emergencies that cross municipal boundaries, improve service to the public and increase officer safety.”

Capital Regional District
CRD Board Chair Colin Plant

“The CRD welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with partners to prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies. This new centre is a strong example of how working together will improve efficiencies and help us to meet post-disaster standards.”

Central Saanich Police Service
Chief Constable Les Sylven

“This new dispatch centre provides us with surge capacity when there’s a major incident requiring a police response, such as a major collision on the Pat Bay Highway. The dispatchers can also quickly coordinate a multi-agency response when there’s a sudden spike in calls. We know the officers in Central Saanich, the citizens in our community, and those throughout the region will be well-served by this new centre.”

Oak Bay Police Department
Chief Constable Andy Brinton

“Obviously our number one mandate is public service and public safety. And the first line of contact for anybody calling for our service is going to be through a call taker at this dispatch centre. I have full confidence that anyone in Oak Bay who calls for a service is going to be impressed and they’re going to be served well.”

Chief Superintendent Sean Sullivan, Island District RCMP Commander

“We are well aware that crime has no borders. And to see three call centres blended together to make one will give us outstanding efficiencies. It’s going to definitely improve the service to Vancouver Island residents and it’s going to help improve safety for our members who are out there each and every day putting themselves in harm’s way to keep our communities safe.”

Lois Karr, RCMP Director of Operational Communications Centre Program

“We’ve been talking about this consolidated centre for more than four years. What I see here is exactly what the vision was right from the beginning – call takers and dispatchers working together out of one facility. The call takers and dispatchers in this building are the first of the first responders. They have a crucial role for the public. And they are a lifeline for police, especially our RCMP members working in smaller detachments and in rural areas of Vancouver Island.”

Saanich Police Department
Chief Constable Bob Downie

“The coordination between different police units is made better by having a single consolidated centre. If Saanich, Oak Bay and Victoria are all working on the same call, it’s run out of one call centre. We don’t have to worry about transferring that call or the dispatch responsibilities from one centre to another. It’s all done here, it’s all done seamlessly, it’s all done under one management team, and the region’s going to be better served because of it.”

Victoria Police Department
Chief Constable Del Manak

“With this new centre, we can take a regional approach to regional issues. Our police officers cross municipal borders on a regular basis. We know that when dealing with calls that cross municipal borders, managing those incidents through three call centres was inefficient. Having a regional emergency communications and dispatch centre that provides us with shared resources for overall public safety is such a positive step.”

President and CEO Oliver Grüter-Andrew

“E-Comm exists to help create safer communities in British Columbia and this initiative is an outstanding example of what can be achieved through collaboration, partnership and hard work. All E-Comm staff share a dedication to public safety that makes me incredibly proud. We are ready to continue to serve police officers and Vancouver Island residents to the very best of our ability no matter what the circumstance or time of day.”

Media Contacts

Capital Regional District
Andy Orr, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications
[email protected]

E-Comm, Emergency Communications for British Columbia
Jasmine Bradley, Manager Corporate Communications
[email protected]

Central Saanich Police Service
Les Sylven, Chief Constable
[email protected]

Oak Bay Police Department
Andy Brinton, Chief Constable
[email protected]

RCMP Island District
Cpl. Tammy Douglas
District Advisory NCO (Media Relations)
[email protected]

Saanich Police Department
Sgt. Julie Fast
[email protected]

Victoria Police Department
Cst. Matt Rutherford
[email protected]

Media Relations
Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General